Talent. Flare. ‘A once in a generation player,’ read a newspaper column written by a former Victoria player about a young boy with a pre-adolescent, patchy stubble, an upgraded mullet, and n…
Talent. Flare. ‘A once in a generation player,’ read a newspaper column written by a former Victoria player about a young boy with a pre-adolescent, patchy stubble, an upgraded mullet, and not enough years on a tally to have a drink. He had enchanted an entire nation, one that isn’t easy to please, into believing that he was the next Ricky Ponting of Australian cricket at the age of twenty.
After rising through the ranks of age-group cricket, Pucovski made giant strides in the domestic scene, scoring at an unprecedented average of 162.50 in the Under-19 championship, and was handed a Shield debut in the 2016/17 season. He became the first batsman from Victoria since Dean Jones to score a double-hundred on a bouncy WACA track against Western Australia and started to pique the notice of the national selectors.
Pucovski has also made the headlines on account of some unsolicited reasons, with two concussions in his first two years in first-class cricket, the second of which was bowled by Sean Abbott, who incidentally bowled the bouncer that would result in the untimely demise of Phillip Hughes in November 2014. Abbott reportedly broke down after bowling the bouncer that sent Pucovski back to the dressing room. Pucovski also took a break from professional cricket, citing mental health problems, but returned in the 2018/19 Shield season to score heavily for Victoria, earning himself a call-up to the Australian Test side on their tour to Sri Lanka. He earned the call-up on the back of just 8 first-class games, at an average of 49, including two hundreds, one of them being a mammoth 243 against Western Australia – only the 9th instance of an Australian batsman scoring a double-hundred before turning 21.
Each of the other eight went on to play Test cricket for Australia. Make of that what you will, and if you’re McGain, you’d put your money on Pucovski becoming the Test captain of Australia in future. With promising numbers, and very little clear footage of his technique, the rookie remains an enigma, and his loyalty to the longest format remains to be seen as the glitzy T20 leagues take over. As of now, he eagerly awaits his Baggy Green in a sunny little subcontinental island.